It’s a scam that has been around for decades but locals are urged to be vigilant of potentially shonky tradesmen doing the rounds in Castlereagh and Agnes Banks.
Known as the ‘Bitumen Bandits’, these tradesmen door knock and letter box drop offers for cheap driveways that are too good to be true, targeting more vulnerable residents such as the elderly.
Several locals have come forward to report such activity over the past two weeks.
Castlereagh resident David Attrill was approached recently by men who said they had left over materials and would give him a good deal. But as cracks in their story started to appear, Mr Attrill questioned their legitimacy.
“I said nothing was happening without any paperwork as they refused to give even an ABN,” he said.
Mr Attrill then spoke to who he was told was the ‘boss’ of the company on the phone who said he would be emailed an invoice, warranty and ABN after the work was completed but Mr Attrill said that was not good enough and no work would start until he had seen and read all the paperwork.
“I was then told the boss didn’t want to work for me,” he said.
David Gardner, owner of Cranebrook road construction business Centre Line Paving, who fixed another local victim’s driveway last year, said more often than not these scammers start work without official approval and then pressure for payment.
“Some of the things I’ve seen them do and some of the results is really scary,” he said.
A spokesperson from Fair Trading NSW said residents should always be wary of persons who come knocking offering unsolicited work, regardless of how professional they present.
“Consumers who are approached should always ask if the trader holds an authority issued by Fair Trading to do that work,” the spokesperson said.
“Anyone who does rebuilding or repair work valued at more than $5,000, or any type of specialist work like plumbing or electrical, must have a valid licence or tradespersons certificate.”
Other tips include seeking more than one quote and consider payment by credit.
To report a complaint: bit.ly/2IBIZcj.
A graduate of Western Sydney University, Nicola Barton is a news journalist with the Western Weekender, primarily covering crime and politics.